Making a Fancy Dog Step – Carcass Construction

Earlier this year my “Little Helper” (as seen in some of the photos throughout the site), a 45 lb rescued pit bull mix (mixed with cuteness and love), was having troubles jumping up on things. So I decided to make some fancy pet steps for my canine friend.

This is the first of three posts on making a fancy dog / pet step.

Planning and Design

When sketching some quick plans for building the dog step I kept the following in mind.

  • Maximum rise and runs for the steps – did a quick post earlier that went into some standard code details on this.
  • How heavy the person / dog would be. This thing is sure handy to sit on 🙂
  • Height of the bed

Pet Step Rough Plan Sketch
Pet Step Rough Plan Sketch

The idea for this project was to use up some the scrap and reclaimed wood I already had laying around, and use some of my Great Grandfather’s tools.

Making the Sides

The sides are made from some 1/2 inch thick plywood because that is what I had left over from making a cabinet.

I lucked out that there was enough on that one piece of plywood to just cut it in half.

Measuring Plywood For Stair Sides
Measuring Plywood For Stair Sides

Tip:
Make sure to use a sacrificial piece of wood between the plywood and the clamp holding the piece down. This keeps the clamp from damaging the softer plywood.

Marking The Sides For Cuts
Marking The Sides For Cuts

The saw in the picture was my Great Grandfather’s cross cut saw. When cutting with a handsaw, just take your time and blow the sawdust away as it build from the cut. That way the cut line is still visible.

Cutting The Step Sides
Cutting The Step Sides

The two dog step sides are sandwiched together and clamped in place for the layout marks. This is so both pieces are cut exactly the same. Even if the cut is a little off, it will be the same for both pieces.

Rise And Run Marked
Rise And Run Marked

Good thing I measured twice because I messed up the first time.

Tip:
To remember what to cut out, “X” out the sections that will be removed.

X Out Section To Cut
X Out Section To Cut

When getting closer to the corner cut, remember to shift the handsaw so the cutting portion of the blade is perpendicular.

First Cut Section
First Cut Section

Cuts For Stair Sides Completed
Cuts For Stair Sides Completed

Interior Supports

For the interior support structure for the pet / dog steps,

  • 2 x 4s were resized to 1.5 inch x 1.5 inch.
  • This yielded two pieces from one 2 x 4.

I did this because I had some 2 x 4s laying around. The sizes I cut these to can be picked up as stock lumber from most places.

Resizing 2x4 Lumber For Interior Supports
Resizing 2×4 Lumber For Interior Supports

This is where I started to work backwards. Normally the support structure is built first then the sides attached to it.

To keep the lengths consistent I used a block of wood and rip fence on the table saw and cut all the width pieces the same.

Gluing And Nailing Bottom Supports
Gluing And Nailing Bottom Supports

Everything was attached with glue and brad nails.

Top Support Attached
Top Support Attached

With the opposite plywood side attached it was time to start working on the other interior support pieces.

Opposite Dog Stair Side Attached
Opposite Dog Stair Side Attached

Installing Back Piece and Toe Kicks

Once everything was framed out a back piece of scrap plywood was cut to cover the back. In retrospect, this would have been a good time to put a hidden compartment in.

Supports Completed And Back Attached
Supports Completed And Back Attached

The pet step carcass was finished off with some scrap 1/2 inch mdf for the front of the steps.

Pet Step Carcass Finished
Pet Step Carcass Finished

Next will be making the step portion of the dog steps.

Learn To Make Dog Treats

Making a Fancy Dog Step links.

Please help me pay for hosting this site by using the Amazon links on the page if you are interested in buying any of the products listed in the articles.

3 thoughts on “Making a Fancy Dog Step – Carcass Construction”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.